TOKYO — This city is gearing up to make its fashion comeback.
Organizers of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo held a press conference Wednesday to outline a full schedule of shows and events for the spring-summer season. After canceling the fall shows that were scheduled for shortly after the earthquake and tsunami in March, organizers have put together an even larger roster of 45 brands.
The week is due to kick off on October 16 with a single show, Theatre Products. It will conclude October 22, when a large fashion and music event will showcase the work of designers from such brands as Mastermind Japan, Phenomenon and Discovered. In past seasons, the week’s activity has been confined to just four or five days.
“We’ve been working toward joining New York, Paris, Milan and London on the international fashion collection scene, and securing Mercedes-Benz as the title sponsor is a big step toward that,” said Kenji Yamazaki, senior director of Japan Fashion Week, which is weaning itself off government support. The organizing committee did not released Mercedes-Benz’s investment figure but it said the carmaker will be host an opening reception and host some fashion shows at its recently opened showroom and event space in Tokyo’s Roppongi district.
Executive director Nobuyuki Ota said that he believes Tokyo needs to concentrate on incubating young designers and increasing its resonance with the general public.
“People around the city don’t know it’s fashion week [when it’s happening],” Ota said. “We wanted to add more events for the public, and do many things we’ve never done before [to help get the word out].”
Such events will include a fashion and accessories fair and a shopping event at two department stores, Mitsukoshi and Matsuya, in Tokyo’s Ginza district.
In another effort to increase international awareness of Japan’s fashion scene, the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) will be bringing over seven buyers from seven countries across Asia and the Middle East for the season. It is also flying over blogger Susanna Lau, known as Susie Bubble, to cover the shows.
Even though Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo is still over a month away, some houses are already kicking off the season with off-calendar shows and presentations.
Just Wednesday, White Mountaineering, designed by Yosuke Aizawa, showed a collection reminiscent of a desert camping trip. Models walked the fog-covered runway in slim pants and cargo shorts paired with relaxed t-shirts, diamond patterned knits, and rugged yet high-tech vests and jackets. The collection, in various tones of brown and beige complemented by a few grays and blues, used a wide variety of textiles, from lightweight denim and cotton canvas to rustic suede and more modern-looking nylon.